European Helmet Collection

Value (2006) | $2,900 Retail$4,300 Retail

This is my grandfather.


He was a sergeant in the first World War in an artillery company. Came home from the first World War, and brought these four helmets with him. He was a great, wonderful farmer of a man. And he used to love to tell us about these helmets. He'd tell anybody who would ask, the story of these helmets and where he got them. And uh, nobody paid any attention, and nobody wrote anything down.

Well, at least you ended up with them, instead of, you know, a lot of times this stuff ends up in the trash. But it's a very interesting group in that it represents two very different positions of what an American vet would bring home. On this side, these helmets here, starting with the World War I German combat helmet, the pickle helmet and the fireman's helmet, those are real typical of what a doughboy brought home from World War I. Everybody wanted what they called a Kaiser helmet, or one of the steel helmets. Unfortunately, these two helmets did not fare that well over the years. They've been, looked like banged around considerably. It's pretty tough to hurt one of the steel helmets, so that's still in pretty nice shape. But really, the interesting thing here that I've never seen in a group from a veteran before is this early helmet here. Most collectors refer to these as lobster pots. It's a Burgonet helmet. It's a cavalry helmet. And the reason they call it a lobster pot is that it has an articulated tail on the back that looks like a lobster's tail. And it's to protect the wearer's neck from saber blows. These were very popular in most European countries in the 1600s. The thing that's really nice about this one is its nosepiece. It's adjustable. There's a screw in the front and it allows the piece to come down and guard the face from saber blows. And it's got the earpieces as well, which are just held on by a leather strap inside. Many times these become detached, fall off over the years. Although the style of helmet goes back to pretty much the early to mid 17th century, this one has an armorer's mark right on the top of the nose guard here of 1711. That could either have been a reissued helmet. The armory reconditioned it, reissued it, or the nose piece could have been replaced. Because by that time you don't even really see too many of these in use. You've got helmets that are pretty beat up that are much later, but a much earlier helmet that's in really pretty nice shape. Starting with the model 1916 German steel helmet here, uh, in this condition, $400 to $600. This is a retail price of a dealer who's selling these.


The Prussian pickle helmet or spiked helmet, pretty beat up unfortunately, $400, $500, $600. The German fireman's helmet, very poor condition, maybe $100 if you were lucky.


But this guy here, the real early helmet, I would say, conservatively, $2,000 to $3,000.


We don't see a tremendous amount of them in this country, and to my knowledge, it's the only time one's ever come in to the ROADSHOW. So it was kind of a treat to see it, and especially coming from a World War I American veteran. Very unusual.

Thank you. You solved a mystery.

Okay, great.

Appraisal Details

Grenadier Military Antiques Auctions
Long Beach, CA
Appraised value (2006)
$2,900 Retail$4,300 Retail
Salt Lake City, UT (June 24, 2006)

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